James McNally, a personal injury lawyer at our Taunton office, reviews the rise in holiday illness claims
Holiday illness compensation claims are becoming increasingly common.
In years gone by us Brits were told not to drink the water when venturing abroad. Anyone who did so and was struck down with a ‘bug’ had only themselves to blame.
Things have moved on since then and people are far less accepting of holiday sickness, especially when it is preventable and arises as a result of poor hygiene standards.
Legally, package tour holidaymakers have the protection of specific regulations that allow them to seek compensation from their tour operator where preventable holiday sickness arises at their hotel or resort. Victims of holiday food poisoning can claim compensation for their illness and any out of pocket expenses they incur. Holiday illness claims are therefore becoming increasingly common.
You only have to search for ‘food poisoning’ on the Trip Advisor website to discover just how much of a problem holiday illness is. Every year an estimated 2.1 million British people are affected. With the average cost of a foreign holiday running at £1,220 the bill for ruined holidays is stratospheric.
Food poisoning is prevalent the world over, but Trip Advisor’s reviewers are particularly critical of hotels in the Dominican Republic . One Dominican Republic hotel had over 100 reviews making reference to ‘poisoning’. Hotels in Mexico also feature heavily among the negative food poisoning reviews, closely followed by Cuba and Egypt.
According to the reviews it is not uncommon for every member of a family or party of travellers to become sick at the same time. In most cases the symptoms are relatively short lived, but some reviewers reported continuing symptoms. These cases are particularly worrying as food poisoning can cause prolonged and even permanent problems.
If you are travelling to a region of the word or a resort that is known for food poisoning it will pay to be extra cautious. Use bottled water, don’t take ice in your drinks, avoid salads and remember that local ice cream might not only damage your waist line.
Warm or tepid food is a well-known cause of holiday illness, so make sure it is piping hot and be particularly cautious with uncooked food.
No matter how careful you are, in hotels and resorts where unhygienic conditions are rife the risk of food poisoning remains.
If you do fall victim to sickness while on a package tour and wish to make a compensation claim when you return home we would recommend that you:
- report the incident to your holiday representative and the hotel;
- take some photographs or even video footage of any poor hygiene practices or undercooked food;
- if other travellers have also fallen victim to the same sickness, ask them for their details.
We are also happy to offer sick holidaymakers free legal guidance while they are still at their hotel. Just send us an email and a member of our injury team will get straight back to you with their recommendations.
We hope this hasn’t put you off your next holiday abroad, but if it has then we are sure the Devon Tourist Board can recommend some lovely (and clean) holiday options http://www.visitdevon.co.uk/
If you wish to make a holiday illness claim then call us now for a FREE case assessment and details of our No Win – No Fee funding scheme.